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Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek, M.D. and T.J. Mitchell

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Staff Review by Suzanne Colligan

Dr. Judy Melinek chronicles her early years as a forensic pathologist while training with the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and balancing marriage and motherhood. Her experience begins ordinarily enough—just two months before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A chapter is devoted to how those deaths were investigated but the everyday happenings in Melinek’s work are just as worthy of an examination.

Melinek, whose own father was an emergency room psychiatrist, helps you to understand why she chose her unusual career path. She takes you through murders, suicides, accidents, and freak accidents. These tales make for graphic reading but Melinek manages to tell the stories of the deceased with a sense of dignity. She puts you behind the scenes where science and crime investigation intersect to demonstrate why many cases aren’t as easily solved in real life as they are on TV. Her colleagues’ intelligence, insights, and diverse personalities round out the stories she shares.

If you enjoy fascinating stories about real life detective work and science, this is just what the doctor ordered.

If you’re interested in this book, there is a library in your neighborhood where you can find it. Your public library is a source of immediate gratification. Take a walk to your local branch and discover a vital resource that is there for the taking. Whether it’s current events, a visit to our downtown cafe called fables, something for the kids, or even booking a librarian, we’re not just books anymore! Your free Buffalo & Erie County Public Library card is your ticket to millions of free resources – e-books, downloadable music, research databases, genealogical materials, our complete catalog, and of course, more than 3 million book titles. All of this is at your fingertips at any Library in Erie County or from your own computer – check us out at


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Buffalo Rising

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